RFID Arena

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Know Your stock and sell!

Online shopping is a growing business. Are you ready for it? Can you insure availability of your products on stock? How correct is your stock count? Do you already count on a daily basis? RFID will make you say yes to all of these questions.

A few days ago I was doing some online shopping. I was supposed to buy similar outfits for my friends to a specific event. Well, it turned out to be a mission impossible.

I found myself surfing on a website of a popular international apparel retailer, and was extremely happy to find out that this retailer would entirely provide my team the matching outfits. I managed to find everything: only some trousers did not have short enough pant legs, but shortening the pant legs of the next length available would be a very easy task if I really was able to get everything else in all the needed sizes via this website.

Delighted I clicked my way to the checkout and was keenly waiting for the order confirmation to arrive by e-mail. When I got the confirmation, I was amazed. The amount I had paid was not correct. And this they did not tell me at the phase of payment. There must have been some kind of a mistake.

Webshop girl

I counted all the items ordered and noticed that approximately 25% of the goods ordered were missing both from the order confirmation and from the amount I had paid. I couldn't believe my eyes! The website claimed everything I ordered would be ready and available for delivery!

After talking to a friendly lady at the customer service, I had to cancel my whole order. It turned out that there stock count on the website was incorrect, and that the company was unable to deliver me everything I wanted. This fact really ruined the idea of the matching outfits so I had to cancel everything and again, start from scratch.

After the non-successful online shopping mentioned above, I made the conclusion that the retailer did not use RFID. With RFID such an annoying event would never have taken place. When items are RFID tagged the stock counts are updated 24-7, hence no sale need go missing. Retailer, think about your customer shopping online: what would their reaction be in a situation when they have found something they want to purchase, but yet after confirmation and payment they find out that the product is out of stock? Not happy, I bet.

Also, click-and-collect services are on constant growth: many retailers have realized the benefits of such service. What makes this especially interesting is the limited space to display and stock all the possible products within the store. Instead, customers can order something online and choose a shop in which to pick up their purchased items. Both from the consumer and retailer point of view this is a flexible method of operation:  if the item does not fit, it will be sold in the shop. And, when the consumer comes to pick the item up, he/she might also pick up something more than just the ordered item. These customers stopping by to pick up their items may be traditional online shoppers but when they come to pick up their purchases, wouldn't you, as a retailer, want to offer the customer something nice that really matches with the new garment?

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I understand that updating the stock count in online business is rather complex if the system is based on product barcodes. What do you think: would now be a good moment to jump onboard the RFID train?

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